Content material optimization isn’t new. It began a number of thousand years in the past when folks started to arrange content material for discovery in libraries.
About 2,300 years in the past, the famend Greek poet and scholar Callimachus constructed the primary Google – a topical catalog of the Nice Library of Alexandria’s holdings.
No shock – serving to folks discover info at the moment requires a vastly completely different strategy.
A library’s group presents a standardized approach for folks to look a considerable amount of info rapidly after they know they’re on the lookout for. However that model of group makes much less sense for content material designed to interact audiences and introduce new experiences.
Give it some thought. You wouldn’t stroll right into a library with the purpose of turning into smarter about the way forward for enterprise. But entrepreneurs typically default to organizing thought leadership like a hierarchical library.
Worse, many catalog it by content material kind. I’ve seen so many B2B useful resource facilities organized on the highest ranges as e-books, white papers, movies, and quick articles. It forces audiences to pick their content experience earlier than selecting a subject or query to reply.
Trendy content material optimization framework
To satisfy viewers wants in 2023, it’s essential to optimize content for search engines, social channels, vertical channels, trade channels, and (sure) even the people who in the end navigate their method to your content material. It’s a tough steadiness to resolve what to optimize for.
Traditionally, entrepreneurs optimized by the logical hierarchy as a result of that was optimum for serps. However with AI and different applied sciences, akin to personalization and focused content material, coming to the forefront, I ponder if it’s not time to take a look at new methods of organizing your content material.
A framework may also help you consider every attribute of a contemporary content material optimization mannequin:
- Inner context
- Exterior context
Let’s take a look at this one after the other:
Understanding your audience’s intent is sort of extra vital than who they’re. Give it some thought. When you’ve got 1,000 new guests coming to your web site, what’s essentially the most priceless factor you may find out about them? Is it who they’re? Or is it why they got here to surf your content material? You could place heavy significance on optimizing your content material in a approach that helps you perceive their intent – earlier than you ask them who they’re.
How do you try this? You possibly can cleverly arrange and create your content material. For instance, maybe you arrange by activity or desired outcomes somewhat than content material kind. Or possibly you present extra detailed content material titles? For instance, you might need a white paper titled: “Visions of a New Future for Our Business: What You Want To Know as You Ponder Change.” I went excessive on that title to make the purpose, however you get the concept. Any individual downloading a white paper is NOT a certified lead at this level.
At this level, the purpose must be to make the knowledge that matches their intent straightforward to seek out.
While you develop your content – whether or not educating, inspiring, entertaining, or just offering instructions – authority issues, and particulars matter. Depth issues. You can not ship authority in a single piece of content material. As an alternative, it’s communicated by your library of content material. These attributes embody linking, attaching, and serving related particulars and extra in-depth content material, so your content material shopper by no means must go wherever else.
As an alternative of organizing your content material to host a digital field filled with PDFs, photos, PowerPoint displays, and many others., construct cross-linked experiences that serve the “greatest subsequent” expertise so the audiences can go deeper.
The interior context attribute is about that means. It is perhaps your model’s factors of view in regards to the world or its distinctive take or resolution to an issue. It is perhaps the knowledge you present in proximity to different info.
Organizing your content material by factors of view is much like organizing it by intent. However you’re not doing it based mostly on duties or questions however somewhat by making an entire argument for the tales you inform. For instance, a expertise firm centered on cybersecurity would possibly arrange its useful resource middle by the model’s perspective on the way forward for AI and embody one other part on the way forward for monetary safety in a digital world.
Your content material’s clear, constant, and differentiated perspective and/or that means makes it stand out when folks seek for solutions. How the content material is displayed additionally communicates a context, which might deepen the engagement.
I name this the settle-the-bar-bet downside. Somebody at a bar says, “What’s the reply to that query?” You reply. They search and discover the reply to substantiate what you offered. Often, the questioner nods, places their cellphone of their pocket, and strikes on.
However what in case your reply sparked additional curiosity? It intrigues them, so that they learn it aloud to their good friend, “Did you additionally know that …” Possibly, they even bookmark it for future studying. That’s the inner context you need to obtain.
Technology and AI-driven options additionally enter the optimization framework to help with conditional contexts – how the content material will briefly be organized at a consumer or account stage. Or it could be organized based mostly on a cellular vs. desktop context.
You could possibly decide that first-party knowledge, akin to location, shopping for historical past, content material consumption, and system kind, will inform the content material’s organizational look.
Additionally, you would use this knowledge to resolve which content material to place into social media, vertical websites, and different interfaces the place you don’t management the show.
Straight associated to exterior content material, offering a number of methods to arrange your content material grows in significance at the moment. If exterior context lets the patron see content material displayed based mostly on their conduct, “described” organizations create content material that describes your content material – to assist audiences filter (or automate), categorize, measure, personalize, and activate content material. This content material normally falls into three classes:
- Descriptive metadata – categorical phrases in regards to the piece of content material, such because the viewers persona, purchaser’s journey part, creator, or supported product class.
- Administrative metadata– content material administration components, akin to publication dates, expiration dates, rights administration, authorized or compliance categorization, and many others.
- Structural metadata– particulars that assist join one content material asset to others, akin to a set of knowledge that reacts to a immediate like “In case you like this, you would possibly like this too.”
Go forth like a brand new Callimachus – the media firm
I wouldn’t suggest making an attempt all these, however you may embody a number of approaches to reorganize your content material administration. The net, search, and synthetic intelligence will seemingly evolve past the static hierarchical, library-like technique of offering info.
Begin with optimizing for people. While you perceive your viewers and their intent, you may optimize the content material for findability. When you create in-depth, priceless, informative, and fascinating content material with authority, you may deliver out the very best that means in your content material and drive higher inside context.
With that achieved (or in progress), you may transfer to the tech aspect of optimization with exterior contexts, akin to cellular, search, social, and many others. You possibly can describe that content material so machines can perceive and do extra with it and use technical options to current it optimally.
Put easier: You might be Callimachus and the trendy media mogul. Your manufacturers will not be solely poets and storytellers; you’re the media firms. You might be right here not simply to offer a useful resource however to interact and information folks to the very best tales after they want them.
It’s your story. Inform it properly.
Up to date from a June 2021 submit.
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute